The divine has made people care for each other. Caring for the other is anchored in the heart. Parents take care of children. People in need get help. Volunteers roll up their sleeves. Buddha, Gandhi and others have appealed to this human nature. Their message is the same as the call of Jesus of Nazareth. Everyone is personally called to help others where necessary or useful. Following that call is often spontaneous and impulsive. But sometimes you hesitate. Sometimes you have to choose from several possibilities. It is not immediately clear what is best. You see advantages and disadvantages for this one and not for the other. You make a decision with your hand on your heart, you make a conscience decision.


When making a conscience decision, other people cannot help you by letting you escape your own responsibility.  Institutions that provide such escape routes have no moral authority (anymore). We have learned to look for fundamental values in every order, compelling advice or appeal to tradition.  However, you have been helped by people who tell you in a small circle how and why they have made a decision in similar circumstances. In this way you will receive personal back support. In this way, you can formulate considerations for a particular problem or dilemma together with fellow sufferers.


Sooner or later, many people now come into contact with situations that require a conscience decision. They would benefit from a confidential conversation with kindred spirits.


We, united heirs of Vatican II, could try to meet the existing need by organizing dialogues where ordinary people can express themselves in a small circle. These conversations certainly do not result in any new laws or compelling advice, but they do give rise to noncommittal considerations. At larger meetings where family formation or another theme is discussed, many people could derive backing and a feeling of togetherness from these considerations. This would have made this ethical deliberation a success, regardless of the number of participants.


Ed Schreurs 24-8-19


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